The Mockingbird

Missing: Called Strikes and a Slider

with 9 comments

Briefly (because if I don’t get out of the house before tonight’s game starts I will be forced to watch it start to finish- and at this point I’m not willing to take that risk), here’s what set Jesse Carlson off last night. I’ve numbered the calls that were made for the last batter he faced. The first is pretty bad (although on the corner). The third is also a pitch that’s usually called a strike because the zone swells at the belt:

Marcum on the other hand, got what he deserved:

What I (and I think Rance) really want to know is what happened to B.J. Ryan’s slider. He got the first out of the inning with it, and then threw 17 sliders and 2 sliders over the rest of his implosion in the 9th. Boggs actually hit one that was pretty well located on the outer third- but it was belt high, 87.6 mph, and the fifth straight fastball he’d seen. In a 1-2 count? Huh??

At least Murphy got a slider (that just missed) before he won the game for Texas, but in shades of Ryan’s last blown save against New York, B.J. then left a fastball belt high and over the plate in yet another 1-2 count. Either it was supposed to be somewhere else as a set-up pitch, the Beej has heard Rance hype his ability to “go right after” hitters a little too much, or the 11 million dollar man’s arm is hurting. But hey, how about that Brandon League!


Written by halejon

August 2, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Seriousness

9 Responses

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  1. Are you positive the game winner was down and in?


    August 2, 2008 at 8:26 pm

  2. My bad – Murphy’s a lefty. Wasn’t really that down, either. I’m just so used to games being lost in that location that I assumed…


    August 2, 2008 at 8:41 pm

  3. I feel ya. I was just wondering because I thought Ryan made an ok pitch that Murphy slapped through a hole for the win and was trying to explain it to a new-to-baseball friend last night. So I was feeling bad that I had been confusing him.


    August 2, 2008 at 11:18 pm

  4. If you throw in the non-qualifiers, the shortstop with the most innings played with a better RZR than Jeter this year turns out to be … Marco Scutaro!

    Disclaimer: I only point this out because it is hilarious.

    Cincinnatus C.

    August 3, 2008 at 2:20 am

  5. Oh dear. I have no idea how I ended up posting that here instead of the other thread.

    While I’m here, though, that’s an impressive job of umping on Carlson–only balls called strikes and three strikes called balls!

    And a random question: do you have anything on the extent to which umps favour fastballs (if in fact they do, which I’ve always been convinced of)?

    Cincinnatus C.

    August 3, 2008 at 2:23 am

  6. Thanks, halejon.


    August 3, 2008 at 2:33 am

  7. Oh dear, someone feeling the need to disclaim some irreverence on a site called the Mockingbird. Maybe I really do need to resume popping Valium like Skittles to make it through this season. Scutaro – that’s amazing. I was just thinking about his +/-, it’s pretty darn good this year (+10 or something?) but was pretty terrible with Oakland (-22 or something). Sample size? Field Turf? Blue Jays’ pitchers? Brian Butterfield is a genius? All of the above?

    The fastball/curve thing is a surprisingly hard subject to tackle. I was looking into it last year using “extra” strikes/9 innings (as compared to what pitch f/x would have called) and found a lot more favorable calls for the fastballs. But then more breaking pitches are thrown towards the corners and edges of the strike zone, and the “real” strike zone isn’t square so part of the reason for that is purely location- they’re thrown more often to places that are not part of the strike zone as it is really called as opposed to the rulebook one. I’m not sure how to really get around that problem to say anything conclusive- but my heart says you’re right.

    That may have been really obscure. Let me try again- umpires call a zone that bulges at the belt but disappears at the corners. And breaking pitches tend to be down so the strike zone is smaller for them even if it’s not because they happen to be breaking. Wait! I guess just eliminate all the pitches except those right at the belt and compare on a level playing field. Well there goes the rest of my weekend…


    August 3, 2008 at 2:49 am

  8. People are saying that Ryan has been dropping his arm angle, perhaps compensating for an injury. What’s your take on that? I didn’t see last night’s game, but he looked awful the night before. I almost can’t remember what Ryan the dominant pitcher looked like, his fastball seems so straight and hittable. Overall though he’s been getting the job done, he’s certainly not the problem and can hopefully come back strong in 2009. If he has another year like this one, it might be fair to say the contract was a bit of a disappointment.


    August 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm

  9. Hmmm…there’s a release point column in pitch f/x. I think I took a quick peek a while back and didn’t see anything glaring, but I’ll be a little more thorough. He was always pretty 3/4, no?

    I’m hoping it’s just him not being at 18 months yet- his control has been terrible as well. But yah, although he’s really been pretty good despite the lack of velocity and everything, 11 mil for a reliever who’s anything other than stellar is not good.

    P.S. I stand corrected.


    August 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm

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